Poor man's Freeride seat -- uni woodworking exercise

I instantly liked the KH Freeride seat, but didn’t realize how great the seat is until I went back to an older KH style seat. The depth of the bend in the old seat is now so uncomfortable, I could not go back, I have been spoiled by the comfort of the Freeride. Having collected a lot of seats I didn’t want to spend $55 replacing them. So I thought I’d try to fix an old KH style seat up like the new Freeride seat.

A solution is to cut a wedge out of 3/4 inch thick piece of wood, and place it under the old seat cushion. Luckily I own a belt sander, and coping saw. Holding the wood in a vice, the sander made easy work of rounding out the one side of the wood. The holes in the wood are not needed, they were already in the piece of scrap I choose.

After cutting the wood, I simply used duct tape to hold it in place, put the cushion over it, and replaced the cover.

I say it’s a success, it is very comfortable, comparable to the freeride.

You may notice that the seat base is a carbon fiber base from Roger at UDC.uk, it’s amazingly strong. Adding the wood wedge to the std plastic base seat would be the same. Luckily I already had a Fusion cover, so putting the seat cover back on was simply a matter of tying the strings.

In the pictures below, you’ll see the piece of wood I cut, top and side views, then the wood wedge on the seat base, and then the seat completed. Finally three seats; Blue is the official Freeride, Red my woodRide version, and Black and older KH style seat.

Wow, that’s a great idea. I’ll definitely have to try this.

I notice that on your Nimbus 36" The seat tube looks way smaller than the ones pictured on UDC. Did you have to cut the actual tube on the frame?

Hello Maximus, Yeah, I cut the seat tube down. I sure am glad I’m able to fit the big wheel beauty and handle bars.

An added note on the wood. Next one, I’ll make slightly wider and sand the top side edges round. Just to reduce any chance of the wood edge cutting into the foam.

that is a really good idea, I think I’ll try converting my seat over the christmas brake. can you feel the wood at all while riding? and also, is it any harder to fit the seat cover with the extra thickness?

Hello Rad,
The foam is kept full thickness, you won’t feel the wood at all, I don’t. I am using the Fusion seat cover, and that just fits fine. I expect the standard stapled seat cover would come out short on the sides. Good questions.

aah, most exelent. I have the fusion seat cover so I guess I know what I’ll be
doing tomorrow



More notes,

The foam in the seat I converted is a KH style gel seat. That style seat has the thinner thickness of foam, compared to some ( of what I think of as older **) KH style seats. The point is that I’m not sure if the fusion cover would fit over the thicker foam KH like seats with the spacer. I don’t think gel or non-gel would make any difference in the results.

** Seats sure have evolved in the last 3 years. With every 8 months they have improved substantially.

I’ve been experimenting with a similar wedge in the seat with my Coker seat. Except I made my wedge out of many layers of duct tape instead of wood. It worked to flatten out the seat a bit more.

Pictures of my modded Coker seat are here (scroll down to the bottom). The seat is built from a Miyata style CF base, older KH Fusion foam, KH Fusion seat cover, and Kinport handle. No pictures of the duct tape wedge mod, but it’s in the same place and doing the same function as your wooden wedge mod.

I’m going to buy a new KH Fusion for the foam and try the new Fusion foam. The new KH Fusion foam shape should be better than my cut up foam. We’ll see.

Hello John,
I like your idea with the layers, seems like there should be a good compromise between wood and duct tape. I’m thinking three layers of that 1/4 inch thick closed cell poster board may work well, and not require power tools.

I was actually about to cut the seat foam like you show in your gallery (thanks for the great pictures), then noticed the fusion freeride seat was built up in the center and realized a filler piece would do the same.

I’m going to change another seat in a week. Probably won’t try the poster board myself since I have more wood and a belt sander.

You probably know better than me, but I’d expect cutting the foam or adding a filler piece provides similar results.

The only mod I’ve done to my old KH fusion is the duct tape layering that JC has suggested. I use a rail adapter to add some tilt and it’s pretty comfortable as is. I think with a little more work it could be even more comfortable than the KH Freeride I’m also using.

I made a seat for Moab this year that is looks very similar but I used a very very firm foam for the wedge and replaced all the KH foam with memory foam. I don’t have it perfected yet but it is much lighter and more comfortable that the origional KH seat. The KH foam is heavy compared to my memory foam. I still need to work on the exact shape and foam firmness.

Here is a pic:

Did another seat conversion today using wood. This time to a standard plastic base seat. The work was the same as for the carbon fiber base.

Had you thought about putting a centre cutout in the foam like the Freeride has? Does the cutout on the Freeride provide a noticeable benefit over you “poor man’s” freeride?

I’ve also spent quite a bit on saddles in the past, but they’re cheaper than many other uni components and I do think a good saddle is particularly important for the kind of distance riding I like: both in terms of comfort and health reasons. I’m just trying to size up whether you should move from a Nimbus Gel to a Freeride and then have a spare seat sitting around…

I’ve also been pleasantly impressed by the difference that tilting the front of the seat up makes - I’ll be putting a tilt adjuster even on my old cheap distance muni, despite the cost, simply because it is soooo good.

Cheers muchly,

I much prefer my freeride seat to my old (untilted) nimbus gel.

It really is preferance though/

Hello Mark,
Haven’t tried cutting the cutout in the foam. I’m going spend more time riding this woodride before I cut the foam. Maybe others have tried adding a cutout to their seats and will comment.

I really like the Freeride, is a great seat. I’m keeping the true KH freeride on the Nimbus 36 which I ride for the longest periods. The wooden hack seems to me a big improvement to the seats like the gel, reducing the depth of the seat cut, similar to the freeride, but the Freeride must be better.

Yeah, I’ve always heard good things about tilting the seat. I need to experiment more with tilting the seat. My problem is that I don’t have room for the full rail adapter setup, even after cutting the seat tube down. I’ll need to try putting additional washers on the front bolts between the post and seat.

Hi Ken,

The tilt thing is definitely worth playing with somewhat. I know what you mean about having trouble fitting things in there: my tilt adaptor is right against the top of the seat tube on my UDC 36er frame…

One thing that might help you is to consider using shorter cranks so you can put the seat higher… even 140s will give you a bit of extra height, and 125s (though they’ll be a bigger difference) would give you even more - maybe enough to fit a true rail adaptor in.

Of course, 125s may be shorter than you want to go.

It’s worth pointing out that many seem to consider the optimum saddle tilt to be way further than what even looks comfortable! The front on my seat sticks way up, so it seems like it’d be putting pressure on sensitive areas. It works because the wide flat portion of the seat is rougly horizontal so it’s possible to put more weight on the sit bones.

Although I made the upgrades some way apart, I’m tempted to say the rail adaptor gave similar levels of improvement in comfort to upgrading my seat to a Nimbus Gel in the first place…


Hello Calves,

That seat looks fine, I like your idea of us using very very firm foam for the wedge (I missed that point of your the first time I read your post). That sounds like a good way to go, since it would be easy to cut.

The foam cuts well with a serrated knife. Here is the foam bits left over after making a new seat and rebuilding my Moab seat (revision #2).

This is a new saddle I build with a bit of a banana shape (revision #3) versus my very flat revised moab saddle on the bottom.

I am hoping to test ride both of these this weekend if the weather is okay. My Moab seat had a few weird bumps in it and had way too firm foam on the top. The revised one should be much better.